It’s an annual tradition on TheLeafsNation, to fill the August downtime with prospect rankings. Given that the Leafs briefly played in August, and the draft wasn’t held until October, we’ve pushed back our content to mid November to accommodate the new batch of Leafs babies and hopefully we’ll keep this content going on the site right up until the anticipated start of training camps in mid-December.
We’ve made a few changes to the way the rankings are done on the site this year as well. Previously our criteria for being considered a prospect was Calder eligibility. That never quite sat right with me in the years I’ve participated, so now that I’ve been given the keys to blog we’ve changed things up. And after discussion with the TLN crew we’ve landed on prospects being defined as players under the age of 24 with fewer than 82 NHL games played. This means that Egor Korshkov, Pierre Engvall, Adam Brooks, Mikko Lethonen, and Alexander Barabanov won’t be appearing on our lists, nor will players like Denis Malgin, who has exceeded the 82 games played.
Instead our criteria allows for Rasmus Sandin to remain a prospect in our eyes, which feels more right than ranking some of the depth players, which we actually did back in April to pass time during the COVID pause, and we anointed Timothy Liljegren the top player outside the NHL in the Leafs system (remembering that Sandin was on the Leafs roster at the time.)
Tomorrow we will kick things off on the prospects by sharing our honourable mentions, three players who were quite close to making the top 20, and Monday we’ll begin our countdown for real. To keep some suspense going for the honourable mentions, I won’t share the names of the players who didn’t receive any votes from us, but we’ll revisit that list after we’ve reached #15 on our list.
One of the other changes we’ve made this year, in addition to asking our writers to rank the prospects, we’ve asked them to assign each player with a A, B, C, D or F grade and also assess how close that player is until they will be in the NHL, using a 0-1, 1-2, 2-4, 5+ year scale. The mode of the responses was assigned to each player, using the median as a tie breaker. As a bit of a spoiler, all of our prospects within the top 20 are deemed to be at least C grade prospects, which probably means we like the prospect pool a fair bit.
HAVE YOUR SAY!
The final thing we are doing different this year is that we want you to have your say. The same survey that was put to our writers is now being shared with you. We’ll give you until November 27th to complete it, so you are can potentially dispute our 11-20 picks and honourable mentions if you like, but you’ll go into the Top 10 just as blind as we were. Considering we had three different players receiving 1st overall votes, the list promises to be interesting.
So like I said, we’ll have some Honourable Mentions for you tomorrow, and Monday morning we’ll hit you with #20.